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Rafael Andreu and Josep M. Rosanas, Professors of IESE University of Navarra

Computer contracting

Mon, 12 Aug 2013 09:52:00 +0000 Published in La Vanguardia

It seems that one of the annoyances that people cause the managers of an organization is to waste their time. From the moment of recruitment, the human resources department has to spend time getting to know the prospective employee if a good selection is to be made: see them, examine their documents, interview them, and so on. The solution to these time wasters: forget old-fashioned procedures. A computer can do it better. There are statistics on which subject from employee is best for which work space. We have the prospective employee talk to the computer directly, it enquiry the statistics and gives us the decision.sion. Perfectly aseptic, no favoritism, no mistakes. Based on statistics. This is what The Economist reported last April ("Robot recruiters"). There are companies that collect millions of data to see if they stumble upon any correlation between how good employee is and the browser you use on the Internet, or if people with a criminal record might be better for certain things (apparently they might be better for working in centers where they answer customers who ask for attendance, which should make us think a bit). It seems that, on average, liars (detected by a trick in the test) are better salespeople, which should also make us think. The fascination that statistics hold for many people is truly worthy of a better cause. A correlation between two types of data seems to be reason to assume that there is a cause-effect relationship between them, internship which is discouraged by any serious book on elementary statistics. We should therefore use them with caution.

Both in the selection of staff and in fifty other fields of social life, from traffic accidents to health risks or incentive systems. And instead, they are used with a B profusion. The quoted article says that at Xerox they "discovered" with statistics that a employee tends to stay longer at his work if he lives near the business and can easily move around. Does it take more than the most obvious common sense to reach this conclusion? And don't we forget the crucial qualitative and subjective aspects in any work? Another day we will talk about this topic.